A framework for developing personas as basis for market segmentation in Pretoria spas
The South African spa market is booming and strong growth rates have been recorded for both revenue and visits between 2002 and 2008. As a result of these growth rates, competition among spas is increasing; spa managers and spa marketers therefore have to ensure that their businesses have marketing plans that have sufficiently detailed consumer information in order to allow these businesses to remain competitive in the growing spa industry. Satisfied consumers are probably one of the most important aspects to consider when planning strategies aimed at achieving a competitive advantage in an industry. When consumers are satisfied, they will return and also recommend services to friends and family. In order to ensure consumer satisfaction in the spa industry, spa managers and their marketers should ensure they have sufficient knowledge regarding the descriptive characteristics of their consumers in terms of their demographic and geographic backgrounds, as well as their specific needs regarding spas and spa visits. The method used by businesses to collect the sufficient information regarding their consumers is known as market segmentation. The study followed a descriptive research design, which was supported by a quantitative method of collecting data. The data collection instrument used was a structured self-administered questionnaire. For the purpose of selecting respondents a non-probability sampling procedure was followed and 98 respondents participated in the study. The main aim of this study was to obtain the information necessary for developing personas as basis for market segmentation in Pretoria spas. Quantitative information was therefore collected, which was used to compile the following profile of a typical study population respondent: * The typical study population respondent can be described as a White Generation Y female who is either single or married/living together without any children. She speaks Afrikaans or English and is a full-time employed professional living with between 1 and three family members. She leads a healthy lifestyle, has a high living standard and is willing to travel up to 30km to a spa. Her actual spa visits are less than twice a year, twice a year or once every three months. However, she would like to visit a spa more frequently, such as monthly or weekly. The reason she cannot visit more often is because spa visits are expensive and she does not have time to visit more often. Her major reasons for visiting a spa are to relief/reduce stress, to feel better about herself, for overall wellness or for special occasions such as birthdays, holidays or when she receives a gift card. When visiting a spa she would prefer to go alone, with one or two good friends or with her husband/life partner. Her perception of spa visits is positive for the relieving of stress and the soothing of sore joints and muscles. The buying behaviour of the typical study population respondent will be affected by aspects such as recession or financial difficulty, the reference of a good friend, the recommendation of a family member and friend, information on a website, the professionalism and friendliness of the spa therapists and the types of services a spa offer. The recommendations that can be made to marketers regarding the results of this study are the following: * Spa managers and marketers can use the profile as starting point for the qualitative research that has to follow the quantitative research when developing personas. * The current profile may be used to for developing marketing strategies until personas have been developed. * The collected data may be used to compile profiles to be used as input for further research on other potential markets such as male spa users.